Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Made In America

American Flag Pictures, Images and Photos
I'm a huge reader.  I read all the fine print on a label, sit and read cookbooks for enjoyment, read fiction/non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, read with my book club, worked in a library, etc.  So, one of the things I always look for is to see where something is made.  And it never ceases to amaze me how little of it is made in the USA.

I make an effort to buy items that are made in this country because it gives me a sense of pride and makes me feel like I'm helping our fellow workers at the same time.  From time to time I decided I'm going to high light items that are made in the USA.  Here are two I  bought this week:
It seems most pantyhose sold in the US are made here too.  $3, Walmart.

I got these for my almost 7 year old son at Big R-great rain/mud boots, which he seems to find a lot of.  Northerner brand, $14.99.

If you want to read more about made in the USA, ABC news did a great series a couple of weeks ago, you can click here to watch.

There are also two blogs of note where the authors tried to live (one still is) for a year with only items made in America that you might want to check out: and

Do you want a good database of what's made in the US?  Click here.

top image credit: photobucket

Monday, March 7, 2011

S2H Replay

When I bought this little silicone bracelet for $10 on mampedia (sorry, that deal is dead), I wasn't too hopeful that it would really work.  It just seemed too gadgety.  With training for the Windermere half marathon, I figured I might as well be earning gift cards while I train.

The s2h (switch to health) Replay bracelet is an activity tracker.  For every 60 minutes of activity, you earn 60 points.  When you reach 60 minutes you can upload a code that displays on the face of the bracelet and you then bank 60 points.  To get a $5 gift card to, say, Target, you need 900 points.  Most of my workouts are an hour or more, so I'm pretty happy to at least be earning gift cards while I work out!
Sorry my hands are so dry....uh, we ripped the box when we opened it.

I just ordered my 10 year old son one yesterday (he's very rewards driven) from QVC for $22.57 since they had the best deal.  His will come in the blue band, with two extras to swap out if he wants to change colors.  This will come in handy for him as he's training for Bloomsday with his dad.  I read that the gift cards are only good online (haven't verified this), but that's no problem for us-we usually wait for a free shipping codes anyway.  I don't think the QVC reviews were all that great, but I've had no problems.  The reviews on Amazon are a lot better....just wanted you to know there's something like this out there.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Good Lord Almighty! We Paid Off Our Van!

I even put on my fancy sucker punch necklace for the occasion!
I'm so happy as I type this!  We went in to our credit union late this afternoon and paid off our van!  Short history on the purchase: we started in 10/2003 with a lease for this brand new van because we needed payments we could afford.  Well, right before the lease was up, we took a loan to purchase the rest of it.  Talk about buying too much vehicle!  We would have been so much better off with getting something used.  We learned a lot with this purchase, like how not buy a car.  Lesson learned and noted.  What's great about this pay off is that we didn't have to use our tax return (like we had originally planned).  My husband had some extra money on this paycheck that enabled us to do this.
Good van, we so OWN you!

This has really been the moment we've been waiting for in our debt snowball.  We now free up about $400/month to go towards our next debt.  We'll really pick up the pace, but these are bigger debts, so they'll take a while.  We're looking forward to sucker punching our next debt!  If you're getting out of debt, keep at it, even with setbacks (there will be some).  Just stay focused and keep your course-I'm cheering you on:)!

February Grocery Totals

Total Spent on Food: $202.80
Manufacturer's Coupons Used: $138.60
Store Savings: $201.38

Ok, so just that you know....this is a super low total, and part of the reason for that is that we freezer cooked toward the end of the month and then I paid for it out of March's budget (since that's when the totals were ready to be paid).  The way we work it in our cooking group (of four-love you gals!) is to have one person pay for all of the groceries for our big cook, then we divide that total four ways.  My freezer meals should last about two more weeks or so.  Even with that said, if you added in the $130 that I paid for freezer cooking, it would still be a good month, so we'll see how March plays out! 

image credit: photobucket/chirkyblog